Oh social media, we have one of those classic love-hate relationships. I love that more likely than not, you found this post on Facebook or Instagram. However, I hate that social media can sometimes make me feel lonely and a tad depressed. I don't think I'm alone- our mental health and our relationship with social media is a pretty hot topic. If you head to the internet to find advice on how to support your mental wellbeing while scrolling social accounts, you will read a lot about getting off altogether, but I don’t find this to be very helpful.
I’ve taken a break here and there from social media, going as far as deleting all the apps from my phone. Sure it feels nice to disconnect and to stop refreshing my feed, but I also miss updates from my friends and family, inspirational posts that get me through a crappy Tuesday and of course the hilarious memes in my DMs. So it made me wonder, can we have a healthier relationship with social media without having to quit altogether? I think so, and I’m sharing my tips below.
Feeling lonely? Call up a friend.
While social media has the potential to bring us closer to friends and family, especially to those who are far away, it also can leave us feeling lonely. Scrolling through endless photos of others having a great time while you stay in your pajamas until 4 PM (just me?) can make you feel left out. My social media sessions can leave me feeling like I’m the only one who’s not hanging out with people, and it bums me out.
When I catch myself looking at photos and craving human connection, I hop off my social account and call or text a friend to say hi. Rather than pouting and asking myself why no one wants to hang out with me, I make moves to feel less lonely. The conversation helps cure some of my loneliness and reminds me that I have some pretty great people in my life. Next time you find yourself feeling left out of all the fun people are sharing online, try texting, or calling a friend. You will see how the real connection can help cure social media FOMO.
Get a little more vulnerable with your posts.
Okay, before I jump into this one, let me first emphasize that I’m not telling you to start oversharing on social media. However, one of the things we hear over and over again about social media is that it’s so fake, and people only share the glossy and pretty parts of their lives. Scrolling through everyone’s highlights on social can make me feel like I’m the only one struggling, and I even feel pressure to create perfect instagramable moments. So, when I do experience things that are far from social media worthy, I feel a little bit like a failure.
I recommend rebelling against the perfect social media culture and sharing a few mishaps or messy moments of life. Your willingness to get vulnerable will not only remind your followers that they aren’t alone, but it will also release some of the pressure of needing to be perfect. By focusing a little less energy on likes and comments and practicing a little more authenticity, you can embrace your true self and build self-confidence online. You will also get a chance to see how much people appreciate your willingness to be a little more real online.
Use the unfollow button.
Honestly, they made the option to unfollow people for a reason. A few months ago, I realized that for various reasons, there were a few accounts on my feed that were making me bummed out. I took some time to unfollow those accounts, and man did it feel good. If social media is starting to wear on your mental health, try unfollowing accounts that are making you feel bad.
For me, I unfollowed workout accounts that had me questioning my body and obsessing over what I ate and former classmates who I never really had a connection with. Even the simple process of clicking unfollow can feel like a weight has been lifted off. It's time to stop scrolling past things on social that are no longer serve you and remove them altogether. Deleting and unfollowing some of the sources of social media struggles can help us to enjoy the right parts, and to be honest, you won’t even miss them when you do say goodbye.
Social media definitely has its pros and cons, and I do not doubt that it impacts our mental health. We are constantly getting bombarded with different messages across multiple platforms, and it’s a lot to handle. It’s crucial that we take some time to audit the impact that our accounts are having on our wellbeing. I’m not opposed to taking a break from it all- it can help you reevaluate your relationship and serve as a much-needed break from all the noise out there. However, if you aren’t looking to quit cold turkey, remember that there are small things you can do to have a healthier relationship with the social world. Happy scrolling!